Roanoke Named Top 10 Valentine’s Day Getaway

Roanoke glows with a special warmth on Valentine's DayWhat does Roanoke have in common with Venice, Paris, and Italy’s Amalfi Coast? 

Romance, of course!

Roanoke was named one of the Top 10 Valentine’s Day Getaway locations from around the globe by World Property Channel, a global real estate business news network. Citing the booming restaurant and culture scene, the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the romantic Hotel Roanoke, WPC ranked Roanoke above Venice, Bali and Hong Kong on its list.

The article also mentions the quaint shops of historic Grandin Village and the Grandin Theatre as hot spots for romance this Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to travel far, or stamp your passport to have a tender night out with your loved one. 

For more info and to read the whole list, see the article on, and read and interview of the article’s author on

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Named One of the Most Beautiful Hospitals


Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital was just included in a list of the 25 most beautiful hospitals in the world.  Ranked at #22 on the list, had this to say about Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

A mix of new and old architecture comes together at this hospital so that visitors will not notice a stark change in design, only a uniform and flowing expansion that unifies functionality and operations. The interior features many of the amenities of similar hospitals, like semi-private and private rooms, housekeeping, and more, but the real attraction to CRMH comes with its exterior design. One side of the hospital uses brick and concrete to frame the windows of patient rooms while a new, modern expansion utilizes walls of glass as the main design element on its curved facade.

Carilion’s beautiful hospital facility is the crown jewel of a healthcare system that makes Roanoke a regional center for specialized health care in all of Western Virginia.  

For more, see the article on  

Governor McDonnell Announces Agreement to Extend Amtrak Service to Roanoke

– Train Travel Will Return to Star City for First Time in 34 Years –

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Norfolk Southern Corporation have entered into an agreement to improve rail related infrastructure between Lynchburg and Roanoke. The improvements will allow passenger rail to once again serve the Roanoke Region. Governor McDonnell’s 2013 transportation funding plan was instrumental in funding the return of intercity passenger rail service to Roanoke.
“DRPT and Norfolk Southern continue their strong partnership to advance intercity passenger rail service in the state of Virginia,” said Governor McDonnell. “Intercity passenger rail service is central to the Commonwealth’s economic growth, vitality and competitiveness in the region. Now the major population centers will have intercity passenger rail service.”
“The historic transportation bill has opened the door for continued expansion and growth of intercity passenger rail service in the State. The extension of intercity passenger train service from Lynchburg to Roanoke would not be possible without passage of this legislation,” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton.
“During this administration, new train service to Norfolk, and funding for the continuation of six state regional trains occurred,” said Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). “With the signing of this agreement, the State will be able to extend Amtrak Virginia daily intercity passenger train service to Roanoke within four years with direct same seat service to as far north as Boston.”
Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern Chairman and CEO, stated, “Norfolk Southern is proud to expand our partnership with DRPT and the Commonwealth. Virginia’s leadership enables both passenger mobility and economic development through a strong rail network.”
“The signing of the agreement between Norfolk Southern and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is an important milestone in bringing Amtrak rail service to our community. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Commonwealth, the Roanoke Valley region, and our city, and with this signed agreement we can accelerate the return of passenger rail to the valley,” said Roanoke City Mayor David A. Bowers.
Included in this agreement are track additions and realignments, signal and communication upgrades along the route, clearance adjustments, and a platform and train servicing facility in downtown Roanoke. Design work will begin immediately. In another effort funded by the Commonwealth and Norfolk Southern, the downtown Roanoke rail connections are currently being reconfigured to improve the flow of train traffic through Roanoke, which is a prerequisite to reintroducing passenger rail service.
Known as the “Amtrak Virginia” partnership, Roanoke is the latest step for the Commonwealth to lead the way as one of the few states in the country to successfully negotiate the addition of new intercity passenger rail service in major rail corridors, balancing freight and economic development needs with additional intercity passenger rail options.
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New Manufacturing Investment is Largest in Roanoke County History

Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based global leader in metal and glass packaging for the food and beverage industry, today announced plans to locate a state-of-the-art metal can manufacturing facility in Roanoke County. The company will create 96 new jobs and invest $93.5 million in real estate and equipment. It is the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County history.

The company has purchased the 525,000 square foot former Hanover Direct distribution center at 5022 Hollins Road and plans to begin operations by the third quarter of 2014.

Earlier this year Ardagh Group signed a long term supply agreement with a major customer, ConAgra, requiring the company to add capacity in the eastern United States. It selected Roanoke County over locations in Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

“We looked at many sites for our expansion and the decision to establish a Roanoke County facility was driven by factors such as the business tax structure, cost of living, infrastructure, logistic advantages, proximity to our major customer, and the availability of skilled labor,” said James Willich, CEO of Ardagh’s metal packaging business in the U.S.

“We welcome Ardagh to the strong manufacturing sector in the Roanoke Region,” said Beth Doughty, executive director the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “The reasons this location makes sense for Ardagh are the same reasons so many manufacturers prosper here.”

The $93.5 million investment includes $80 million in equipment. The company is completely renovating the cavernous building to accommodate manufacturing of 4.5 million cans per day, which represents approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. food can market. Ardagh will be hiring skilled machine operators, managers, and support staff.

“This represents the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County’s history, and we anticipate even greater long term investments from the company and its suppliers,” said Michael Altizer, chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors.

The Roanoke Regional Partnership, Roanoke County, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked together to secure the project.

Ardagh Group is a global leader in glass and metal packaging solutions for most of the world’s leading food, beverage, and consumer brands. The company has more than 100 facilities and 18,000 employees in 25 countries producing 26.6 billion containers a year.

The company’s U.S. metal packaging operations are based in Carnegie, Pa. In addition to Roanoke, the company has facilities in Bloomsburg, Pa., Weirton, W.Va., Conklin, N.Y., and Terminal Island, Calif.